Chapter sixteen and seventeen of Riverdale have been a bit of a whirlwind. Things have gotten way more dramatic with a killer on the loose in this small town.
The killer, the Black Hood, is making things personal by sending Alice, then Betty mail. First, Alice gets a letter stating he’s responsible for all the shootings in town and murdering Grundy. Naturally, before going to the police, Alice posts the letter for the town newspaper. Someone’s got her priorities straight. Betty also receives a letter from the Black Hood. Betty’s letter is more frightening than Alice’s, because the Black Hood confesses he’s doing all this because of Betty. More specifically, because of Betty’s speech from the Jubilee. Since Betty was the inspiration for all the murders, she also received a coded message that would reveal where the next killing would take place.
Our beanie wearing brooding teen Jughead is back at Southside High. Jughead would prefer to sit alone and sulk, but the Southside Serpents have other plans. He tells them he wants to sit alone at lunch, but because of who his father is, Jughead is a serpent and is going to be treated like one. Later, Jug is leaving the newspaper room and is attacked. Afterwards, he decides that he should sit with the Serpents for protection. I wouldn’t be so worried about Juggie sitting with them if it wasn’t for Toni Topaz. She works on the school paper, the Red and Black, and seems to have a connection with Jughead. He even ignores a call from Betty and tries to decipher the coded message from the Black Hood with her.
Archie is busy taking matters into his own hands with the Red Circle. My sweet little naïve ginger thinks a bunch of muscular teenagers in red hoods is going to stop a serial killer. It’s the thought that counts though. Archie confesses that the Red Circle is just a ploy to get the Black Hood to come after him so he can kill him. He even got a gun from Dilton Doiley. When Archie goes to the south side to spray paint red circles, he pulls the gun on some Serpents who threaten and pulled a knife on him. Eventually, the principal and sheriff try to stop the Red Circle. Archie gets his locker searched but there’s no gun found. You would think Archie is smart enough not to bring a gun to school, right? Nope. He’s smart enough not put the gun in his locker. He sends Veronica to retrieve his gun from the toilet tank in the boy’s bathroom. I guess Archie isn’t the brightest red crayon in the box.
Veronica told Archie she threw the gun in Sweet Water River, but I guess lying runs in the Lodge family. When Archie and the Red Circle get in a huge fight with the Serpents, Ronnie uses the gun to stop the fight. The only bright side to this is that the boys chose to use their fist instead of weapons. Except for one Serpent, who stabbed Dilton in the leg with a knife.
We finally get to see Polly, but it’s only for a brief moment. She tells Betty she wants to leave Riverdale because of the Black Hood. It seems like the killer is targeting sinners. Fred Andrews was starting to get involved with Hermione Lodge, who was still married at the time. He killed Ms. Grundy, who was involved with her underage student. Then, he shot the two teens who doing jingle jangle and more than likely about to do more than just make out. Polly may seem like the sweet girl next door, but she is an unwed mother having her third cousin’s baby. She’s a walking sin target. If I were her, I would leave town too.
Eventually, Betty uses a Nancy Drew activity book to crack the code and finds out the killer is going to strike at the town hall next. This is all after Betty works with Jughead, Kevin, and Toni. This was one of my favorite moments because Toni shaded the famous Betty Cooper pony tail. When Betty was stressing about the code, Toni told her she should loosen her pony tail. Kevin came to her defense saying the ponytail was “iconic and beyond reproach.” Everything was all fun and games until Betty started making assumptions about who the killer was. He’s only killed north siders. Let’s be realistic, the south side is filled with gangs and drugs. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal to assume a south sider is responsible for the crimes. Toni doesn’t like this assumption and explodes at Betty.
The only lead we have on the killer is that he has some sort of connection to Betty. It has to be someone who was at the Jubilee to hear Betty’s speech. And he only kills sinners. Well, attempts to kill, because Fred Andrews and those two teenagers are still very much alive. That also means we’re looking for a killer with bad aim. After these two episodes of Riverdale, I’ll just repeat what Fred said to Archie: good grief.